I am SeelaSalaaCassello-Mum!

“SeelaSalaaCassello
SeelaSalaaCassello
SeelaSalaaCasselloooooooo
And so say all of us!”

This is what Mini-Me sings EVERY time she finishes singing “Happy Beffday”.
It’s completely ridiculous, but so cute that I don’t have the heart to correct her.  In fact, on Friday last, while her Aunty blew out her candles, everyone started to sing Mini-Me’s version of the song.  I have a feeling that it will be one of those things that will haunt her into adulthood.

And it got me thinking.  Why do we automatically correct some mistakes, while accepting others?
Why do I think it’s okay for her to change the entire lyric of a song, but yet when she says “Where is her?”, I immediately correct her with “Where is she!”?

It’s not like my own speech is perfect.
I sometimes talk really quickly.
Like, really quickly.
Or so I’m told.

I’m always aware that I need to slow down, especially if I’m speaking to someone new.
It can be full speed ahead, to the point that if you’re not from lovely Donegal, there’s a good chance that you’re smiling politely at me, but you’ve no idea what I’m saying.

Why do I do this?
I have no idea.

I do make an effort to slow down obviously, but if I’m nervous or excited, I speed up dramatically.
If I’m excited and I’ve had coffee, I go to superspeed.
If I’m excited and I’ve had wine, well you had better buckle up and try to keep up!

As an English teacher, I am constantly aware of the mistakes that we make in our everyday speech.  Indeed, outside of the classroom, I am happily able to slip into the colloquial dialect of my hometown.   I don’t apologise for it.

I’m am however, that person who is silently correcting your grammar.  I don’t mean any harm.  It’s my job I suppose.

When people mispronounce words, I cringe.  (I had a meeting once with a lovely lady who loved the word “specific”, but who pronounced it “pacific”.)
When my students make the (very Donegal)  mistake of “I seen him down the town,” I have been known to start singing “See-Saw, See-Saw, See-Saw!!!!!” at them.

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I want to throw people who like, say “like”, like a lot, out the like window.

So of course I try to teach my own girls to speak properly.

I find myself using the phrases “Slow down” or “Let me hear your words please” with Mini-Me quite frequently of late.

Her speech is generally very good.  It’s never been a cause for concern for me.
She drives my brother crazy saying “Lellow“.  He once spent 20 minutes teaching her “Ye-Ye-Yellow.”  She proudly ended the lesson with “Ye-Ye-Lellow!”
Everything is “Bery” good and she wears a “best” instead of a vest.
I don’t stress.  She’s three… (or free!).

She lost her first tooth last week and for a few days, her newly acquired lisp provided great entertainment to the adults in her life.  Of course, we didn’t make her aware of the humour she was providing to us, but we had a little chuckle at the cuteness among ourselves.  It passed after only a few days.

But it got me thinking.
Over the past week, I’ve found myself paying attention to the little words she mispronounces or gets completely wrong.  And where I would usually automatically say the word correctly to her straight away, I’m trying to remember them.
She’s growing up so quickly and as she proceeds through the school system, those little mistakes will be rectified by her well-intentioned teachers.

Instead, when she announces that she wants another “escapode” of Peppa Pig, I smile and enjoy the fact that she’s can even try to say that word!

And for now, when she has the confidence to stand in front of a room full of people and sing “Seeeela Saalla Casello!” At the top of her voice, I let her.
(How “She’s a jolly good fellow” became “Seeeela Saalla Casello!”, I will never know).
But it is hilarious. It’s cute. It won’t last forever.

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(Sometimes however,  we must correct.
Like yesterday when she bumped her elbow and screamed “You hurt my Booobeeeee!”, I HAD to correct her.
I’m not even going to try to understand how she got those two particular body parts mixed up, but she did.)

Because she’s three.
And for  “Seeeela Saalla Casello!” And so say all of us!

I am  “SeeeelaSaallaCasello-Mum”. ūüėÖ

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Or on Twitter @Maria_Rushe

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I am Swearing-Mum

Last night, my Mini-Me said her first proper swear word.

Jeeeeeesus anyway,” she announced as she sat on the toilet.

Now, I know that children will copy what they hear, and I’m quite able to admit that I am no stranger to the odd expletive, but as a family, we do try not to use bad language in front of the kiddies.

Obviously, at some point, we’ve failed.

swearing kid

Not only did she pronounce “Jesus” quite beautifully; She used it in the same context that a grown up might. ¬†She was frustrated (still no poopoo!). She was trying hard and getting nowhere. ¬†She was exasperated and she knew exactly how to express it!

She also knew that it wouldn’t be acceptable, because those pretty blue eyes immediately darted to¬†my face to see how I would react. ¬†She was challenging Mammy.

We’ve been here before. ¬†The first time she ventured into Bad-word-land was with “Shup-up”. ¬†My reaction to that was an automatic scold. ¬†“No! ¬†We do not say Shut-up to Mammy. ¬†That is not nice!”

The result? “Shuppy-up” is what she now reverts to if she wants to push Mummy’s patience.

This time, I was armed and ready. I did what any clever parent would do. I did the opposite of last time. I pretended it hadn’t happened and continued talking about Mr. Poopoo needing to go for a swim.

Not getting the reaction she wanted, she said it again…this time, more slowly and dramatic. (A born actress I tell you.)

Jeeeeeeeeesush.”

This time, I decided to take the bait, but on my terms.

Yes Honey! You saw Baby Jesus in the crib at Christmas! Aren’t you a clever girl?

This wasn’t what she’d anticipated in her brilliant toddler mind, but it seemed to work. ¬†She began to talk about Christmas and Santa and her pretty dress and her Christmas Tree. ¬†And so, I thought I’d won.

cursing

I thought that I’d done well. ¬†I thought I was clever. I thought I’d distracted her and had taught her how to use the word properly. I’d turned the word back into what it is, rather than allowing it the status of swear-word.

That ‘Supernanny‘ doll should move into my house to see how it’s done. ¬†I have it. ¬†I’m in charge.

Smug and quite delighted with myself, I carried on with my evening. Husband would be so proud of how I dealt with the situation. ¬†I’d be admired by friends with toddlers when I told them how to deal with their little Darling’s¬†attempts to use bad words. ¬†I might even win a prize of some sort. ¬†I’d start giving lectures to parents on “Expletives and Toddlers: how to survive.”

Then I woke up.

Princess was throwing¬†a strop. ¬†She pulled off her Elsa dress and was screaming about her Tinkerbell Dress. ¬†Whatever she wanted, I obviously wasn’t doing it. ¬†It was one of those tantrums that began over virtually nothing and resulted in fire-alarm pitch screaming and stomping. She stormed into the hall…and suddenly, all of my smugness dissappeared…

BAAAABY JEEEEESUS ANYWAY!”

So, not only had I NOT dealt with this situation¬†properly, I had given the little genius a way out. ¬†A safe pass. ¬†A golden ticket. ¬†At only three years old, she had manipulated me and my words. What I’d actually done, was teach her how to use it, without getting into trouble.

I was gunked. ¬†My jaw actually hit the floor. ¬†I listened to hear if she’d say anything else. ¬†She didn’t. She was waiting to hear my reaction. ¬†She’s still waiting, because although I actually snorted with laughter, she didn’t hear me. ¬†A few minutes later, she popped her pretty head around the corner. I carried on as if nothing had happened.

I know some people will be disgusted. ¬†I know I shouldn’t have laughed. ¬†I know it’s terrible that a child is able to use language like this. ¬†But I also know, that sometimes, laughing is all we can do.

I’m not a psychologist. ¬†I’m not a child specialist. ¬†I’m not a genius.

I’m a mum. ¬† I’m a mum who, once upon a time, thought smugly that my little girl would NEVER behave like¬†that. ¬†I’m a mum who is learning every single day.¬†I’m a mum who will sometimes just laugh, because really, what other option do I have?

On a positive note, she’s learning. She’s testing boundaries. ¬†She’s experimenting with language. ¬†She’s establishing her little self in the grand scheme of things.¬†And every day, I “Thank Jesus” that she can!

I am Swearing-Mum x

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